Mid-South woman celebrates 90th birthday jumping from airplane - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Mid-South woman celebrates 90th birthday jumping from airplane

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FAYETTE COUNTY, TN -

By Justin Hanson - bio | email

FAYETTE COUNTY, TN (WMC-TV) - We all have dreams, things we always talk about but maybe never get around to doing.  For daredevil granny Nadine Snell, celebrating a milestone birthday would not be the same without living a dream.

These days, Snell is living life on the edge, literally!

"The sky, the space out there is so pretty most of the time, if you take time to look at it. The clouds, the sunsets, people just don't look around enough to see what's around them," she said.

For Snell, boarding a plane and then jumping out of it from 14,500 feet above West Tennessee is a dream come true.

"When we got up there, they said, well are you ready?" Snell said.  "They moved my feet to the door and whoever was jumping with me got behind me and all at once, we was out there.  Maybe he pushed me I don't know, but all at once we were out there."

During her recent jump, Snell said she never felt anxious or fearful.  Skydiving has been Snell's dream for more than sixty years.  It is how she chose to celebrate her 90th birthday. 

"I went into the Air Force so I could be next to airplanes and have something to do with planes," Snell said.

After graduating from high school, Snell decided to go to nursing school. 

"We didn't have any money and my parents gave me a pig for graduation from high school in '39 and we sold that when my cousin talked about nursing school," Snell recalled.  "We sold the pig, we had to have $32 and that paid for uniforms and books."

Snell joined the US Air Force as a nurse in 1943.  She had to retire in 1946 because of rheumatoid arthritis, but this mother and grandmother never looked back.

"I have never let that stop me," Snell said.  "I don't sit, I work my hands."

In fact, Snell has only looked up, dreaming of the day she could finally jump from an airplane.

"Everybody has dreams.  Some people give up on them, but if you have something you want to do, you can get it done, it might take time," Snell said.

Snell's family was nervous about her jump.

"I was more concerned I would do something wrong or someone would get hurt," she said.

"If I were 90 years old and in her place, I don't know if I would have had the guts to jump from a plane," said Snell's grandson, Taylor Thompson.

Thompson said he will jump with her if she does it again.

"I just think she's the most amazing woman ever," Thompson said.  "She keeps going, you can't tell her to stop, can't tell her no.  When she decides to do something, she's going to do it, no stopping her."

Now, it's on to finding yet another dream to turn into reality for Nadine Snell.

"I've got to think of something extra for my 100th birthday," Snell said.

Nadine Snell's actual birthday is in October.

Even though she's retired from nursing, she says her license is still current.  She is waiting to renew it right now, just in case.

Has this 90-year-old daredevil inspired you to fulfill your dream? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

To learn more about the West Tennessee Skydiving Operation, click here.

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